Colorectal Cancer Incidence Rate Skyrocketing In Young Adults, Study Shows

Per The Oncology Report, a group of researchers led by Dr. Christina E. Bailey, a surgical oncology fellow at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, examined data for 383,241 colorectal cancer patients between 1975 and 2010 and found a significant year-over-year increase in incidences of colorectal cancer in people under 50.

This increase was especially pronounced in people between the ages of 20 and 34.

Using predictive modeling, the researchers estimated this trend could continue to the tune of a 90% increase in colorectal cancer incidence rate for 20- to 34-year-olds between 2010 and 2030. Among 34- to 49-year-olds, the model suggests a more modest 28% increase during the same time period.

Doctors recommend regular colorectal cancer screening starting at age 50, which may explain why incidence rates for those 50 and older actually decreased during the 35-year timeframe used in the study, according to Dr. Bailey. Patients 75 and older saw an especially sharp decrease in colorectal cancer incidence.

Why are young people getting colorectal cancer more frequently?

While presenting the research at the Gastrointestinal Cancer Symposium, Dr. Bailey told The Oncology Report upticks in obesity, physical inactivity and diets high in red meat and fat – factors known to increase colorectal cancer risk – may be to blame.

Dr. Bailey also cited a decrease in misidentification of colorectal cancer as other gastrointestinal diseases as a possible cause, while suggesting further research needed to be done to determine with certainty why so many younger adults are being diagnosed with colorectal cancer


  • Another new study suggests that colonoscopies that are conducted more slowly tend to result in better polyp detection rates. (via Science Daily)

  • An increasingly common situation: a patient thinks his or her colonoscopy is covered under the new healthcare law, but a polyp is found, which means the visit is no longer considered preventative and he or she is stuck paying part of the bill. More on this and other “surprise” medical charges. (via Kaiser Health News)

  • This one is a few weeks old, but I stumbled across it recently and thought it was worth sharing. Why Everyone Seems to Have Cancer. (via The New York Times)

  • As suggested above, red meat consumption has long been linked to an increased risk of colorectal cancer. But it’s not quite that simple. (via Asian Scientist)

  • Do colorectal surgery patients recover better at small hospitals or large hospitals? The answer might surprise you. (via Reuters Health)

  • Some very exciting news: our friends at the Colon Cancer Alliance are launching their Patient Support Navigator Program, a support network that will assist patients at every stage of cancer care.

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Creative Commons image via anonlinegreenworld

Topics: Colon Cancer News and Information

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